Saudi Arabian Airlines starts daily flights to Turkey’s Izmir

Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) will fly its first direct flight to Tukrey’s Izmir on Wednesday. (AFP)
Updated 08 May 2018
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Saudi Arabian Airlines starts daily flights to Turkey’s Izmir

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) will fly its first direct flight to Tukrey’s Izmir on Wednesday, a new destination added to its seasonal service.
A daily service four-times-weekly from Jeddah to Izmir will start on Wednesday, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
And starting on June 10, Saudia will be running flights three-times weekly from Riyadh.
Flight SV251 will depart King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah at 10:10 local time Wednesday morning. The expected arrival time in Izmir is 13:35.
The return flight SV250 will take off at 15:05 Wednesday afternoon, to arrive in Jeddah at 18:30 in the evening.
The airline will operate the route with an Airbus A320 aircraft in a two-class configuration of 20 seats in business class and 96 seats in guest class (economy).
The flight duration from Jeddah to Izmir is three hours and 25 minutes nonstop, and three hours 55 minutes from Riyadh.
The Kingdom’s national carrier currently flies to 89 destinations across four continents and operates a fleet of narrow-body and wide-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft.


Jordanian cabinet approves new IMF-guided tax law to boost finances

Updated 21 May 2018
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Jordanian cabinet approves new IMF-guided tax law to boost finances

AMMAN: Jordan’s cabinet on Monday approved major IMF-guided proposals that aim to double the income tax base, as a key part of reforms to boost the finances of a debt-burdened economy hit by regional conflict.
“When only 4 percent of Jordanians pay (personal) income tax, this may not be the right thing,” Finance Minister Omar Malhas said in remarks after the cabinet meeting, adding the goal was to push that to eight percent. The draft legislation was submitted to parliament.
The IMF’s three-year Extended Fund Facility program aims to generate more state revenue to gradually bring down public debt to 77 percent of GDP in 2021, from a record 95 percent.
A few months ago Jordan raised levies on hundreds of food and consumer items by unifying general sales tax (GST) to 16 percent — removing exemptions on many basic goods.
In January subsidies on bread were ended, doubling some prices in a country with rising unemployment and poverty among its eight million people.
The income tax move and the GST reforms will bring an estimated 840 million dinars ($1.2 billion) in extra annual tax revenue that will help reduce chronic budget shortfalls normally covered by foreign aid, officials say.
Corporate income tax on banks, financial institutions and insurance companies will be pushed to 40 percent from 30 percent. Taxes on Jordan’s phosphate and potash mining industry will be raised to 30 percent from 24.
The government argues the reforms will reduce social disparities by progressively taxing high earners while leaving low-paid public sector employees largely untouched.
“This is a fair tax law not an unfair one,” said Malhas, who shrugged off criticism the law is lenient on many businesses connected to politicians whose transactions are not subject to tax scrutiny.
Husam Abu Ali, the head of the Income and Sales Tax Department, said a proposed IMF-recommended Financial Crime Investigations Unit will stiffen penalties for tax evaders. Critics say it will not tackle pervasive corruption in state institutions.
Abu Ali said the government could be losing hundreds of millions of dollars through tax evasion, which is as high as 80 percent in some companies.
The amendments lower the income tax threshold and raise tax rates. Unions said the government was caving in to IMF demands and squeezing more from the same taxpayers.
“It is penalizing a group that has long paid what it owes the state,” the unions syndicate said in a statement.
“It imposes injustice on employees whose salaries have barely coped with price hikes rising madly in recent years.”